Religious Coats Of Arms - What Do they Mean? | Brick Mansions

Religious Coats Of Arms - What Do they Mean?

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Title : Religious Coats Of Arms - What Do they Mean?
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Religious Coats Of Arms - What Do they Mean?

It may surprise some people to learn that religious institutions such as churches and members of the clergy have their own coat of arms. Some can be quite ornate and are very rich in meaning. The colors on the coat of arms as well as the charges (the items that appear on the shield) may have meanings that directly relate to God and the activities of the church as well.

One of the first things to look at on a religious coat of arms is the type of headgear that sits on top of the shield. There are a number of ecclesiastical hats and crowns. These signify that the bearer of a coat of arms was a member of the clergy. There are three main types of ecclesiastical headgear that appear on coats of arms. The lowest rank, the ecclesiastical hat may have a number of different features that helps someone tell the rank of the bearer. If the hat is crimson with fifteen tassels per side it means that the bearer was a cardinal. If the headgear is crimson but only has six tassels on each side the bearer was a vicar.

An ecclesiastical hat that is violet and which has six tassels per side means that the bearer would have been a domestic Papal prelate. Green ecclesiastical hats that have ten tassels per side are used by continental bishops and archbishops. If the ecclesiastical hat is black with one tassel per side it is used by a clergy man of lower rank. Three tassels on each side of an ecclesiastical hat means that the bearer was an abbot. There are two different types of bishop's mitres. One has a ducal coronet and the other does not. The highest ranking headgear is of course the papal crown.

Religious coats of arms will usually have crosses in the design. These represent Christ. They may also have fleurs de lys on them. This stylized flower is supposed to represent the holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The band at the bottom of the fleur de lys is meant to represent Mary. On a religious coat of arms, the fleur de lys may be used to represent the Resurrection as well. Colors can also have religious meaning. Red is often used to represent the blood of Christ. Blue is often used to represent heavenly love and of the truth. Some religious coats of arms will have letters on them. An XP on a religious coat of arms is commonly used as a monogram for Christ. It also can mean peace (pax) as well.

As you can see, a lot of thought goes into choosing the elements of a religious coat of arms. If you come across one that has symbols other than those described it can be fun to find out the story behind each of the images and why they were included on a religious coat of arms. You may find out some surprising pieces of information about the history of a person or an organization to which you belong.

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